Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 17, 2015 (SKNIS): The Honourable Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis, Senior Minister and Minister of Labour, has made it mandatory for the Department of Labour to carry out systematic visits and inspection of work places, in particular construction sites in St. Kitts to ensure that all workers are treated fairly.
This was revealed during the second day of the 2016 Budget debate on Wednesday, December 16. Senior Minister Amory mentioned that the Government is committed to working closely with the private sector.
He said the Department of Labour’s efforts will be refocused on forging closer relations with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) and other employer related agencies, as well as the trade unions and similar employee representatives.
Minister Amory said that in the 10 months of his tenure “we have seen greater cooperation existing among the three units. This I think is the way in which we must proceed.”
The Senior Minister noted that even though procedures were taken to deal with outstanding matters, and to establish a parameter within which there can be more harmonious relations, there still lies a number of issues that relate to undocumented workers. Such areas include developments where employees or employers have sought to circumvent and undermine the due process of hiring employees.
“This is not something which began in the last year. This is something which has become the norm,” he said.
Minister Amory stated that the systematic visits and inspections are not carried out on development sites only, but also on retail stores around the island. He said that this is done to ensure that such practice comes to an end.
In the Budget Address on Tuesday, December 15, Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that one of the main “thrusts of the Department of Labour would be to foster greater relations between the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration, targeting synchronization of policy and other important areas that are critical to the development of the Federation.”
“The Department of Labour would continue to perform the role of vanguard in fostering harmonious work relationships through the application of international best practices and judicious resolution of labour disputes,” said Dr. Harris. “The Department will focus on occupational health and safety in the workplace and embark on the production of a health and safety culture.”